Although not yet legal in the entire country, two-thirds of the U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana. That number continues to grow as more states legalize not only medical marijuana but also the recreational use of marijuana.
It was only recently that medical marijuana became legal in Washington D.C. The year was 2013, when the first medical marijuana customer purchased cannabis from a licensed dispensary.
Today, both medical and recreational marijuana is legal in D.C. Still, there are some benefits to getting your medical marijuana card. We’ll show you how to get it, how to find the physician to help you, and why you may want it.
What Is Medical Marijuana?
Medical marijuana is not any different from recreational marijuana other than the reason for its use. Unlike recreational cannabis use, medical marijuana is prescribed by doctors as a way to treat diseases and other conditions.
More research is needed to unlock the full potential of marijuana when it comes to how it can affect the body and help manage symptoms of diseases. For now, the FDA has only approved cannabis to treat epilepsy and seizures. Recently, the FDA also approved two man-made cannabinoid medicines: dronabinol and nabilone.
What Is Medical Marijuana Used for?
A doctor may prescribe medical marijuana for many reasons. Although it is important to note that marijuana is not a cure for any disease, it can help manage some symptoms for certain patients. Doctors and patients may use medical marijuana to:
- Prevent seizures.
- Manage chronic pain.
- Help cancer patients regain their appetite.
- Control muscle spasms.
- Relieve anxiety and stress.
- Manage glaucoma symptoms.
- Eliminate nausea.
How to Find a Medical Marijuana Doctor in Washington D.C.
When a patient decides medical marijuana is something they’d like to try, they may not know how to even get started. Some primary care physicians may not be willing to give a medical marijuana card, and you’ll need to find a doctor who has the training and knowledge to do so.
Here are some tips to help you find a medical marijuana doctor:
- Ask for recommendations: You can ask your primary care physician or even friends who use medical marijuana for recommendations of clinics and doctors near you.
- Read up on their training and experience: You’ll want to find a doctor who has experience and training when it comes to medicinal cannabis. Ask them how they get additional training to stay on top of trends and information in medical marijuana.
- Choose a doctor who makes you comfortable: While some people may not have a preference between male or female doctors, some may. You can quickly narrow your search by looking for a doctor with whom you would feel more comfortable.
- Make sure they are licensed physicians first: Check online to ensure the medical marijuana doctor you are considering has an active medical license in the state where you reside.
You may find more medical marijuana doctor options than you thought you might. In addition to knowing what to look for, there are red flags you should watch out for, such as:
- Doctors with less than two years of medical experience.
- Unconventional advertising such as posting flyers around your neighborhood or at your door.
- Large numbers of negative online reviews about the physician and their practice.
- Clinics that seem too busy and will rush you through your appointment.
At the end of your appointment, your physician should provide you with information on which types of marijuana products they believe would work.
How to Get Your Medical Marijuana Card in Washington D.C.
While finding a medical marijuana doctor is an essential first step to getting your card, there are more steps in the process. Here’s what you’ll need to do to get your medical marijuana card:
- Meet with your newly found medical marijuana doctor.
- Complete your application. If your doctor approves, you will get a physician recommendation number. Keep this number safe because you will need it, as well as your ID, proof of residency, and social security number.
- Wait to be approved. Once you submit your application, you’ll need to wait about 30 days for it to get processed.
- Once you get your marijuana card, you can go to the medical marijuana dispensary to purchase what you need.
Why Get a Medical Marijuana Card?
With recreational cannabis use legal in Washington D.C., why do patients even get their card? There are a few reasons people may do so. Some say they just feel better about using it if they have their card. Others think it offers some protection if people question your use of cannabis products. And of course, with the medical marijuana card, a doctor can help you determine the right cannabis products for your needs.
Where to Go and What to Get
Your first trip to a dispensary for medical marijuana can be overwhelming, especially if you aren’t sure what to get. This is where your medical marijuana doctor can be helpful.
Before you leave your appointment, your doctor should give you recommendations on what specific marijuana product you should take and the correct dose. Although they should not recommend specific strains, you can ask your local budtender for help. Explain to them why you are taking marijuana and your experience level. They can offer some strain recommendations for beginners.
Do you need help finding a medical marijuana dispensary? There are online tools available that will help you find dispensaries near you. You can narrow your search to your specific location to make your trip easier.
Finding a medical marijuana doctor in Washington D.C. may take a little bit of research. You can start your search with recommendations from friends and your primary physician before going online to do research. Once you find your medical marijuana doctor, they can guide you through the process of getting your card and choosing the cannabis products that will best meet your needs.